Edward Norton, famous for his stellar performances in Hollywood blockbusters such as the cult classic ‘Fight Club’ and more recently as the lovable antagonist in ‘Birdman’, has more in common with his contmporary Ashton Kutcher than what first looks reveal. In addition to his acting exploits, the actor is also successfully active within the tech community.
EDO – The ‘Fight Club Startup’
EDO is an ad-analytics startup founded by Edward Norton, in association with his colleague Daniel Nadler. The firm announced today, that they have raised $12 million in Series A funding.
This won’t be the first time that Norton has seen success in the tech space. Prior to EDO, Norton had invested in a startup called Kensho, and had co-founded a crowdfunding platform called ‘CrowdRise’, which was subsequently acquired by GoFundMe.
In public statements, Edward Norton asserted that he personally convinced Daniel to start the company, since the concept of ROI-targeted advertising for content creators is close to both of them (for the uninitiated, Daniel Nadler is a poet). A functional TV ad analytics platform can do remarkably well in the new era of streaming and smart TV. Allowing better analytics and ROI visibility for TV Networks and advertisers, allows them to take smarter risks when it comes to betting on newer styles of content, the actor reasoned.
“Movie studios and publishers, they take risks on talent, on creative people like us. We want them to do well. The better they do with the dollars they spend, the less risk averse they become.” – Edward Norton
Kevin Krim (former Head of Digital at CNBC) has been hired to serve as the CEO of EDO. Krim agreed that linear TV advertising is still the major source of advertorial revenue for TV networks, but the way the effectiveness of these ads is measured, is still extremely archaic. Some other ‘online’ measurement agencies have also been focusing on auxiliary indicators such as social media sentiment and other ‘proxies’ that can be used to understand consumer behavior, but Norton calls them ‘weak proxies’ at best.
How EDO works
EDO claims to pull data from sources such as search engines and high-traffic content consumption sites that people browse before buying anything online. With deep insights into data science EDO aims to measure the change in those specific behaviors of consumer engagement that are indicative of intent (to purchase). EDO claims to do this effectively by linking this behavior back to the ads served to a particular user.
EDO was founded in 2015, and since then it has created an impressive database of 47 million ad airings. This allows participating advertisers to compare their own performance with that of competitors, and to adjust their campaigns based on actual customer engagement. The firm is already working with TV networks and studios of international repute, such as ESPN, Turner, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros.
The current Series A investment in EDO was led by Breyer Capital. Jim Breyer, the founding partner, is famous for his previous investments in Facebook, Etsy, and Marvel. Robert Smith and Brian Smith (of Vista Equity) and the WGI group also participated in the round.
“For more than a decade I’ve watched the data science talent arbitrage transform industries from finance to defense, from transportation to commerce. We needed someone to bring these capabilities to bear on the systemic inefficiencies and methodological shortcomings of measurement and analytics in media and advertising.” – Jim Breyer